Chinese Space Station Plans

The Chinese large modular space station is a planned space station to be placed in Low Earth orbit. The planned Chinese Space Station will be roughly one-fifth the mass of the International Space Station and about the size of the decommissioned Russian Mir space station. The Chinese station is expected to have a mass between 80 and 100 tonnes (180,000 and 220,000 lb). Operations will be controlled from the Beijing Aerospace Command and Control Center in China. The planned launch date of the core module, the Tianhe-1 (“Harmony of the Heavens”), is 2020. In 2017, the Chinese launched the Tianzhou-1 (“Heavenly Vessel”) cargo spaceship, which is based on the Tiangong 1 and 2 space laboratories.

This important measurement was made using Cassini's INMS instrument, which detects gases with the goal of determining their composition. INMS was designed to sample the upper atmosphere of Saturn's large, smoggy moon Titan. However, after Cassini's surprising discovery of a tall plume if icy spray erupting from cracks on Enceladus in 2005, planetary scientists turned its detectors to that small moon. The GRAIL mission was managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The mission was part of the Discovery Program managed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Discovering the little moon also reinforces the theory that most dwarf planets have moons.